A popular Italian restaurant in Kennesaw is closing, to the dismay of its regular customers, according to posts and comments on social media.

Ippolito’s Neighborhood Italian restaurant in the Town Center Plaza on Barrett Parkway opened for the last time Tuesday, announcing on its public Facebook page “the shopping center has determined that it did not want to renew our lease and has asked us to leave.”

Town Center Plaza boasts around 27 businesses, including Olive Garden, a rival Italian restaurant located directly across a shared parking lot from Ippolito’s.

“It’s with a very sad heart that we make this announcement,” Ippolito’s said on social media Monday morning. “We made lots of great friends and created many happy memories over the past 18 plus years. It’s hard to leave a location that we have invested so much of our time in.”

The restaurant’s post stated owners hope to find a new location “in the near future” and in the meantime Kennesaw patrons are encouraged to try Ipp’s Pastaria in Woodstock, just over eight miles north of Town Center Plaza.

Over 200 comments have been published on Ippolito’s Facebook page about its closure in Kennesaw, many speculating that the Olive Garden franchise has something to do with Ippolito’s closing, although there’s no evidence of this.

“I bet it’s Olive Garden that’s behind it!,” one man wrote.

Others blamed the plaza owners and/or operators.

“I hope the shopping center crashes and burns without your business,” one woman wrote on Ippolito’s Facebook post. “Ippolito’s is the only reason I was ever in that shopping center and then I’d go to other stores. So sad!”

Another woman said “Can you pass our comments on to the building owner!? Bad decision on their part, your restaurant is loved! We hope you will find a new location soon!”

Town Center Plaza's leasing agent is JLL retail, a global company with corporate headquarters in Chicago offering retail leasing and investment services, according to its website.

"Looks like the brokers are out on vacation, so I was not able to get a comment," JLL representative Azar Boehm told the MDJ Wednesday in relation to Ippolito's closure.

Ippolito’s has other existing locations in Sandy Springs, Alpharetta, Suwanee and Roswell, the latter just opening on Dec. 19, per its website.

“Thank you for making us a part of the Kennesaw community and loving Ippolito’s,” the restaurant posted on its Facebook page. “Thank you so much for all of the nice comments and sweet stories about our Kennesaw Ippolito’s. … It means the world to our Ippolito’s family! We will miss everyone dearly.”

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